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The Peacebuilding, Education and Advocacy in Conflict-Affected Contexts (PBEA) programme, funded by the
Government of the Netherlands, is a four year programme (2012-2015) designed to strengthen resilience, social
cohesion and human security in countries at risk of, experiencing, or recovering from conflict. The PBEA programme
is a unique, innovative and cross-sectoral programme that has the potential to place education at the center of
peacebuilding efforts.
The PBEA is an experimental and pioneering programme that addresses the drivers of conflict through education.
Many interventions are part of complex processes whose progress and achievements cannot easily be described
quantitatively. Case studies provide a unique opportunity to understand, in-depth, the impact and processes of
education and peacebuilding within real-life contexts. This is particularly important in countries impacted by conflict
and instability where the situation can change rapidly.
Case studies contribute to Outcome Five of the PBEA programme which involves the generation and use of evidence
and knowledge. The country level case studies are an integral component of the monitoring and evaluation strategy
for the PBEA programme.
Each Country Office that has completed their conflict analysis and developed and started programming should aim
to complete two case studies annually. Support to the conceptualisation, design, data collection (if needed), analysis
and write up of case studies can be given from the HQ PBEA Programme Management Team and other HQ sections,
as well as through the Search for Common Ground global partnership and UNICEF Regional Offices.
If additional budget is needed to complete the case studies, Country Offices are encouraged to include budget for
case studies in their annual workplans under the M&E activities section or under outcome 5.
The purpose of this document provides guidance1 to Country Offices in the design, planning and development of
case studies.


Key information on case studies:


What are case studies?

A case study is a story about something unique, special, or interesting. Case studies can be about individuals,
organizations, processes, programmes, communities, institutions, or events (Neale, Thapa, & Carolyn, May 2006).2
Case studies are most useful when:
There is an interesting, unique or important story to be told
The boundaries between the phenomenon being studied and the context in which it occurs are difficult to
Answering what, how, and why questions such what happened, how or why did something happen, and
with what results
Providing multiple perspectives regarding a particular phenomenon (Search for Common Ground; UKaid;
United States Institute of Peace)
This guidance draws extensively from a number of resources including: Search for Common Ground; UKaid; United States
Institute of Peace. (n.d.). Case Study Module; Yin, R. (1994). Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Applied Social
Research Methods Series Volume 5(Second Edition), 3; Baxter, P., & Jack, S. (2008, December). Qualitative Case Study
Methodology: Study Design and Implementation for Novice Researchers. The Qualitative Report, 13(4), 544-559; Neale, P.,
Thapa, S. B., & Carolyn. (May 2006). Preparing a Case Study: A Guide for Designing and Conducting a Case Study for Evaluation
Input. Watertown, MA: Pathfinder International.

This definition is drawn from Yin, Robert K. (2003). Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Thousand Oaks: Sage

Case studies can, if data collection instruments are constructed in such a way, provide useful retrospective
information into the pre-project situation of a particular issue or event in a specific context, provide in-depth
information on the process of change within an individual or community as part of monitoring efforts, or as a method
of project evaluation (Search for Common Ground; UKaid; United States Institute of Peace).
As stated in the objectives above, the PBEA programme aims to use the case studies to study salient interventions,
processes and evolutions that are best described through in-depth investigation.

How will case studies be used?

The case studies have the potential to play a critical role in shaping UNICEFs conceptualisation of how education
can contribute to peacebuilding, but also how education and other sectors can work together to strengthen this
The case study approach has been adopted to complement the Global Results Framework. The primary purpose of
the case studies is to tell the story behind the indicators and to capture learning and/or results on a targeted topic
that is better described through a qualitative enquiry. They will strengthen institutional learning and facilitate sharing
of experiences, programming approaches, innovations, lessons learned and results within respective UNICEF
country offices, between PBEA country offices. The case studies will also contribute to the evaluation of each PBEA
programme in each country as well as potentially contributing to thematic studies and comparison studies at global
Country Offices are encouraged to themselves determine format, methodology and topic of their case studies to
ensure that they are used in the most effective manner in each country office.
The primary audience for the case studies are internal to UNICEF. The Case Studies will be shared with the
Government of the Netherlands. Further sharing, dissemination and publication will be cleared with Country Offices.
Thematic and Comparative Studies will be published. Country Offices will be consulted with regards to what and how
information from case studies will be distilled in these studies.


What are the difference between Case Studies and Research Studies?

Case Studies are primarily based on existing monitoring data sources that are built into your M&E system and
focuses on learning generated from programme and are often reflective in nature. Within the PBEA they are meant
to be explanatory only where such data collection is built into the M&E Plan. However, the countries are free to do
primary data collection for the studies as necessary. They are often produced by UNICEF or by their partners working
with UNICEF on implementation of the PBEA programme. Research Studies are often more extensive and requiring
more resources. Frequently they are also commissioned by a third-party that is not necessarily involved in
implementing the PBEA programme.


Relation to PBEA Programme Outcomes and Theories of Change

Case studies should relate to one or more outcomes of the PBEA programme. Based on programming priorities at
the country level the country offices should clearly delineate how the intervention, through its process and results,
aim to address conflict driver(s) identified in the respective countrys conflict analysis. This can be outlined through
an if and then programme logic. The programme logic should clearly indicate why this activity is contributing to
conflict sensitive education and/or education for peacebuilding
Where feasible, case studies should also be linked to Theories of Change. Theories of Change concern the
underlying programme assumptions as to why and how certain strategies will contribute to the outcome to be

achieved. PBEA programme outcomes are informed by Theories of Change that make explicit the links between
education and peacebuilding. These theories were developed through literature reviews and country level conflict
analyses. Case study data can be analysed for the extent to which it tests, reinforces or challenges these theories of
The following chart serves as a guide to key programme outcomes and their underlying Theories of Change, though
these theories may differ at the country level based on conflict analyses.


Programme Outcomes
Increased inclusion of education
into peacebuilding and conflict
reduction policies, analysis and
Increased institutional capacity to
supply conflict sensitive and
peace education.
Increased capacity of children,
parents, teachers and community
members to prevent, reduce and
cope with conflict and promote
Increased access to quality,
contributes to peacebuilding,
including education delivered as
a peace dividend.

Underlying Assumptions/Theories of Change

By including education more explicitly in peacebuilding and conflict
transformation policies, and vice-versa, the potential of the education
sector to contribute positively to building peace will be more fully realized.
If institutions are better equipped to provide education that supports
peace and addresses issues that may have fueled conflict, such as
unequal access to service and lack of opportunity, then education will
contribute to positive social change and peace.
If education services can provide education respecting equity and
diversity, and equip students, parents and community members to resolve
conflict in non-violent ways, then these life skills will contribute to a more
peaceful society.
By addressing inequalities in access to education that may exacerbate
grievances between groups within society, and by strengthening the
quality and relevance of education for peacebuilding, education can go
beyond being conflict sensitive to providing a sense of normalcy, to being
a preventative strategy and that actively promotes peace.

Key steps in the plan, design and development of the case study:

The following are suggested steps in the plan, design and development of your case study. Further resources
providing further details on each step, are provided in the Resources section.


Select the case or unit of analysis:

The most important step in the development of the case study is defining the case or unit of analysis. The case is
defined as a phenomenon of some sort occurring in a bounded context (Miles & Huberman, 1994). The case may
be selected because the phenomenon is unique or extreme. It may also be selected because it is representative of
other individuals, processes or organizations and would generate broader interest. For example, your question may
be how have teachers integrated conflict sensitivity into classroom practices? The case or unit of analysis in this
example is teaching practices and involves the analysis of a process.
Key questions to ask in selecting the case include:
- What do I want to analyze the programme, the process, organizations, individuals or differences between
them? (Baxter and Jack)
- Why is this event worth discussing? (Commonwealth Association)
- Who will be interested in these findings?
A Case Study Development Form (Appendix A) has been developed to support Country Offices in identifying case
study topics and questions, as well as relevant methodologies.

It is also important to determine whether to do a single case study or multiple case studies. Single case studies
allow you to go deeply into a particular case and to study from multiple perspectives. Multiple cases involve
replicating a similar case study methodology or approach in more than one context. Multiple cases allow exploration
of differences within and between cases and can strengthen findings as they demonstrate broader relevance of the
Multiple case designs can be particularly useful within the PBEA programme to demonstrate how an intervention
have evolved and progressed over time. Country offices can study a particular intervention and its results, learn
from what worked and did not work, modify the intervention, continue implementation, measure results, modify the
intervention etc. That same intervention and its results can be studied at varying intervals to illustrate progress as
well as how interventions have been adapted to respond to lessons learned and/or changes in context and how
these changes worked/did not work. For example, the introduction of rugged IT kiosks pre-loaded with content that
targets disenfranchised youth in rural areas aiming to improve youths knowledge of the job market and develop
their hard and soft skills. Before rolling the intervention out to other communities the appropriateness and
robustness of IT kiosks and content could be measured, recommendations made and intervention altered before
further expansion. This could be one case study. Once recommendations have been incorporated and expansion
has taken place another enquiry into the results could be made, adding additional questions around the
effectiveness of the modification with regards to achieving the desired results. This could result in a second case
Multiple case designs can also be used to compare results of interventions undertaken within one site (such as a
community or a school) with comparable sites that have experienced no interventions and/or a modified or alternate
set of interventions. This approach will contribute to a further understanding of outcomes of the programme for
targeted populations. For example, a case study could examine the introduction of conflict sensitive curriculum or
conflict sensitivity training for teachers at the school level. A similar case study could be conducted at comparable
schools not part of the PBEA programme. Where comparison groups are used as part of the case study design,
careful consideration needs to be given to ethical issues. Interactions with students, teachers and parents at nonprogramme schools can raise expectations of underserved communities. This can be addressed by comparing sites
where similar interventions will soon be introduced, or where a modified or alternate set of interventions are being


Determine the scope of the case study:

It is important to develop boundaries for the case study to ensure the question to be answered or phenomenon to
be studied is manageable. This if often referred to as binding the case and involves determining the breadth and
depth of the case study (comparable to determining a sample selection in quantitative studies). Boundaries for the
case can include timeframe, place, activity or actor(s) to be studied (Baxter & Jack, 2008).Developing 1-2 succinct
research questions that you would like answered in the case study also helps narrowing the scope of your case
study considerably.
The following are examples of case study topics and suggestions for narrowing down their scope:
PBEA Global Outcome 1:
Topic: Integration of Conflict Sensitivity and Peacebuilding into Education Sector Plans (ESP).
Research questions:
What advocacy strategies were used for ensuring the inclusion of conflict sensitivity and Peacebuilding into
the ESP? Which strategies worked and did not work? Why?
What issues did you successfully advocate for the inclusion of? Which did you not?
PBEA Global Outcome 2:
Topic: Transformative capacity building practices within training of textbook writers

Research questions:
How effective have capacity building approach of textbook writers been? What has worked and what has not
What are the key areas in which their capacity have advanced? How is this addressing the identified conflict


Determine the type of case study to be conducted:

There are several different types of case studies. These are most frequently categorized as descriptive, explanatory,
or exploratory case studies. However, many case studies can be described as being a mix of several of these
categories. Definitions of each category are provided below.
Describes an intervention or phenomenon and the real-life context in which it occurred (Baxter & Jack, 2008, p.
This type of case study can be useful in understanding both the steps, process and sequencing involved in
implementing aspects of the PBEA programme that are novel and/or complex.
Descriptive case studies are often less time consuming and expensive than other types as it mainly relies on
monitoring data that has been collected as part of the interventions Case Study examples:
implementation process. You can also often get a good sense of the
process through a limited number of key informant interviews that are Descriptive:
not highly expensive or time consuming to conduct.
INEE Teacher Compensation Case Study
Example: An example of a descriptive case study would be a focus
on methods used in the process of integrating education into broader
UN and international community peacebuilding processes at the
country level. See annex xx for a descriptive case study example.
Attempts to explain why certain behaviours or results occurred by
determining cause and effects (Commonwealth Association Paper).
Explanatory case studies go beyond a description of interventions to
understand why certain actions or behaviours resulted. This type of
case study can be useful in understanding and verifying the outcomes
of the PBEA programme and can complement other outcome level
measures by providing a deeper explanation of why certain outcomes
were achieved or not. Explanatory and Descriptive elements are often
combined in a case study as they are complementary.

Right to Play Children defending their
right to play
Explanatory and Descriptive:
SfCG Angola Youth Conflict Resolution
Save the Children - African customary law
and practices and childrens protection
Video as Case Studies:
Llavadar Green Messages
Higher Life Foundation: From Beneficiary
Insight to Policy Change - Snapshot Case

Explanatory case studies often require a mix of both quantitative and

qualitative methods. Quantitative data collection often require more
human and financial resources than other types of data collection, although analysing significant amounts of
qualitative data also requires extensive resources. You will when planning for an explanatory case study have
carefully determine your sampling methods and frame to ensure that an appropriate budget is allocated to the
Example: Focus on why families within a particular community that have experienced a reduction in violence at
home and in schools. This case study may include a description of interventions undertaken within the community

being studied, but it would go further to examine why these interventions resulted in the reduction of violence
Aimed at defining the questions and hypotheses of a subsequent study or at determining the feasibility of desired
research (Search for Common Ground; UKaid; United States Institute of Peace, p. 3)
Example: Conflict analyses conducted during the first year of the PBEA programme to explore the linkages between
education and peacebuilding, identify conflict drivers and develop theories of change.
See annex xx for an exploratory case study example.
Due to constraints in terms of operational, cost and human resource constraints most case studies completed
under the PBEA programme will be descriptive (describing the processes for how an intervention or phenomenon
occurred within its context). More structured explanatory methodologies (i.e. surveys with comparison groups)
should be incorporated to the greatest extent possible.


Select methodologies for data collection (see attached chart):

One of the advantages of case studies is that they allow for the use of multiple sources of evidence. This is one of
the strategies that enhance the credibility of findings. Data should be triangulated from multiple sources to
establish converging lines of evidence and make findings as robust as possible (Yin R. K., 2004).
The most common data collection methodologies include direct observation, structured interviews, focus groups,
document review and key informant interviews. In addition to common data collection methodologies there are
other less frequent, though more participatory and creative, data collection methodologies that can be used.
Examples of these methods are described in the Data Collection Methodology chart at the end of the document.
Case study evidence can also include quantitative or numerical data, in addition to qualitative data, as a source of
evidence. Examples of quantitative data that could be used to support case studies within the PBEA programme
include student achievement scores or questionnaires with closed-ended versus open-ended questions.
Where possible data used in case studies should draw on existing monitoring and evaluation processes for the PBEA
programme to maximize synergies and ensure efficiency. The earlier case studies are defined, and data sources
determined, the greater the opportunity to integrate these data sources within regular monitoring and evaluation
Where possible, data collection methodologies should be participatory and engage children, parents, teachers and
communities. Data collection methodologies selected should also consider principles such as equity, gender
sensitivity and ethical standards.


Develop instruments for data collection

Once data collection methodologies have been determined, instruments for data collection should be developed.
Instruments can include instructions for data collectors, scripted introductions and responses, and interview, focus
group and/or survey questions. The objective is to ensure consistency across surveys and interviews (Neale, Thapa,
& Carolyn, May 2006). Consideration should be given to translation of instruments into local languages and training
of data collectors where necessary.

Collect and analyze data:
In case studies data collection and data analysis happen concurrently. In some cases factors arise during data
collection were not anticipated at the start of the case study. This may lead to revising research questions or asking
new ones. As mentioned earlier, analysis should look for where evidence from multiple sources converge in order to
ensure rigour of findings. Where programme logic has been included, evidence can be analyzed to determine
whether they reinforce or challenge these assumptions.


Case Study Template:

There is no set format for case studies. Country Offices can be creative in the presentation of context, data and
findings from the case studies conducted. Video case studies should be accompanied by a brief summary of the
case study and details of the methodology employed. Regional or comparative case studies can also be undertaken
but should not replace country level studies.
The following template provides a sample format for case studies, along with a description and suggested guiding
questions.3 Case studies should be approximately 8 -10 pages in length, excluding annexes and executive
summary, This can vary depending on the information to be conveyed and the format of the case study. Suggested
guidelines for the length of each section are provided below. This template is a suggestion and is meant to provide
countries with a guide. You are free to use any other format that you think are more suited for your context.
Executive Summary (max 1 page): Include a condensed overview of your case study, including salient points from
each section. . Include a paragraph with results and recommendations from the case.
Context (1 page): Provide an overview of the country or conflict context directly relevant to the case. Describe the
factors and explore their effect on the case, the processes and outcomes.
- What political, environmental, economic, social and technological factors are affecting the case? What are
the cultural, geographic, historical, local, global or other factors affecting the case?
- What are some of the key conflict drivers, triggers and dynamics that the intervention is aiming to address?
- What is the role of target groups in the on-going conflict or country context? Why was this specific
geographical area or population group targeted (selection criteria)? .
- Why is this context especially relevant for this case?
Methodology (1/2 page): Clearly describe, underlying programme logic and assumptions, global outcome theory of
change, data collection methodologies used in the case study, and limitations encountered by using that process.
- What are the underlying assumptions or theories of change shaping the case study
- What is the scope or boundaries of the case?
- What data collection sources, methodologies and systems of analysis were used?
- How was the case study process chosen?
- What were the limitations of the methodology and process used?
The Case, Phenomenon or Problem (1 page): Describe the case, phenomenon or problem being studied in detail,
including an explanation for why the case was chosen, and why it is important.
- What is the case, phenomenon or problem being studied?
- Why is this case important, unique or relevant?
- Who identified the case and how was it identified? E.g. was the case identified by program
staff/participants/clients/visiting evaluators, etc. as a result of observation, data analysis, evaluation, or
another way?
- How was the context taken into account during this case study?
Programme Response (3 pages): Describe the steps that were taken to address the case, phenomenon or problem.
- What activities/interventions/inputs took place in response to the case, phenomenon or problem?
- Where and when were these activities/interventions/inputs implemented?
- Who was responsible for implementation?
- Who were the primary and secondary target groups?

This format draws extensively from Search for Common Ground and Neale, et al. including many of the guiding questions.

How were activities/interventions/inputs modified from original programme plans and for what reasons?
Why were these steps taken?

Results and Outcomes (1 page):

Include all of the relevant outcomes that resulted from the
- What were the results of the programme response?
- Were the results anticipated, unexpected or surprising?
- What factors influenced the results?
- Are the results sustainable? Why or why not?
Gender (1/2 page) (as appropriate): Provide an exploration of the role that gender played in this case.
- How was the problem/case shaped by gender considerations?
- How did the intervention/programme response take gender into account?
- What was the effect of gender dynamics on the results of the programme response?
Challenges and Lessons Learned (1 page): Outline the challenges faced during the case study and enumerate the
lessons learned that can shape future efforts to address the same or similar problems.
- What challenges did you encounter during the process? How did you respond?
- What lessons were learned during this process (programmatic, technical, financial)? If intervention is being
continued or expanded upon, indicate how you will incorporate the lessons into future programming.
- Were there any unintended consequences of the programmatic response? What were the implications
- Were you able to access all of the pertinent data and resources needed to conduct this study?
- What could have been differently, if anything?
Recommendations and Next Steps (1 pages): Recommend activities and next steps that should be explored based
on the results of the case study. This could include the programme and/or policy level.
- What are the implications of the results for similar programmes and/or the case being studied?
- What are the implications of the results for policy at a local, national, or global level?
- Who are the players who should care most about the results and how should they use the results (e.g. what
changes need to be made, and by whom, in response to the results if any)?

Collection Description
Common Methodologies
Direct Observation

Passive observation of events or situations while recording all

observations and details (as distinct from participant observation wherein
the researcher participates/plays a role in the events).
Structured Interviews
Using a list of pre-determined questions, interviewing a sample of
stakeholders by asking the same questions each time. This method is
useful for establishing consistent data that can form a baseline for future
Focus Groups
A semi-structured group interview, usually using pre-determined
questions as a guidelines. A facilitator guides the conversation to cover
the important information but leaving room for organic discussion, while
other team members record verbal and nonverbal interactions among
participants. (Centre for Refugee and Disaster Studies, p 8).
Survey Data
Surveys can be distributed with qualitative and/or quantitative questions
and are useful for creating a baseline and/or measureable understanding
of a point in time.
Document Review
A collection and analysis of available documentation related to a program
or case, usually using coding and a database for analysis.
Informant Less structured, key informant interviews may include a pre-determined
set of questions, but the goal is to establish a dialogue and explore an
issue with an individual rather than collect information from a sample.
(Centre for Refugee and Disaster Studies, p 7)
Other Methodologies
Member Checking


Pile Sorting

Problem Tree

Member checking refers to when a researcher shares their interpretation

and process results with process participants in order to discuss and
clarify the interpretation, and uncover new and/or additional
perspectives. This method is useful for studies in which data is highly
susceptible to individual interpretation. (Baxter and Jack, 556).
A participatory method where a facilitator uses locally-available materials
to create a visual timeline and solicit input from participants to describe
the sequence of key events. This method is useful for establishing a
preliminary understanding of an event or situation while building trust
and rapport with participants. (Centre for Refugee and Disaster Studies, p
A systematic method used to understand how an issue or its components
are inter-related. Participants are asked to group together items
according to their own (indigenous) system of categorization, which
provides insight into how issues are perceived by a population. (Centre for
Refugee and Disaster Studies, p7)
A participatory method involving a visual depiction of a central problem
(trunk) with influencing factors (branches) described by informants.
Chains of causes are ranked by participants according to their
contribution to the problem. This method is useful for gathering
information about the root causes of an important problem identified
during a study. (Centre for Refugee and Disaster Studies, p 8).




Baxter, P., & Jack, S. (2008, December). Qualitative Case Study Methodology: Study Design and Implementation for
Novice Researchers. The Qualitative Report, 13(4), 544-559. Retrieved from https://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR134/baxter.pdf
Center for Reguee and Disaster Studies. (2000). Training in qualitative research methods for PVOs and NGOs (&
counterparts): A trainer's guide to strengthen program planning and evaluation. Retrieved from
Commonwealth Secretariat. (n.d.). Overview of case study models and methodology. Commonwealth Association for
Miles, M., & Huberman, A. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded source book (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks,
CA: Sage.
Neale, P., Thapa, S. B., & Carolyn. (May 2006). Preparing a Case Study: A Guide for Designing and Conducting a
Case Study for Evaluation Input. Watertown, MA: Pathfinder International.
Search for Common Ground; UKaid; United States Institute of Peace. (n.d.). Case Study Module.
Yin, R. (1994). Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Applied Social Research Methods Series Volume
5(Second Edition), 3.
Yin, R. K. (2004). Case study methods. Complementary Methods for Research in Education 3rd Edition.


Appendix A: Case Study Development Form

Country Office
Step 1: CASE

Discussion: What do I want to analyze the programme, the process, organizations,

individuals or differences between them? Why is this worth discussing? Who will be
interested in these findings? Do I have the resources to do this? When will the
information generated be most useful?

Step 2: SCOPE OF

What specific aspects of your topic are you interested in sharing through this case?
Will project implementation have advanced enough to allow you to answer these
Research Questions:
REFINED CASE TOPIC (be more specific once you have agreed on the scope):

Step 3: TYPE OF

Based on your research questions, what type would you choose for this case?
Other: ..

Step 4:

What methodology would enable you to answer your research questions? (choose
from chart in CS Guidance)
Direct observation
Focus groups
Document review

Step 5: DATA

Structured Interviews
Key Informant interviews

Based on methodology chosen above, what data will I need to collect? With which
instruments? How will I analyse the data? When do I have to collect this data? What
resources will I need?
Data collection
Target Population
Data analysis



Do you have the necessary budget/time/resources for data collection & analysis?
Budget available for case study:
Tool development/testing: from ...to ..
Data collection: from ...to ..
Data analysis: from ...to ..
Case study finalised by ..
HR: (who will design the data collection tools, collect and analyse data):